How to prepare for college — I think
Hello members of the Class of 2017
I hope senior year has treated you well enough so far. The one and only Kevin Chow, this paper’s opinion editor, asked me to write a piece about how to prepare for college because I, a high school junior, am apparently the most qualified person on staff to write about preparing for college (you’ve been warned about what this will end up being). I am also writing this in the midst of junior year’s most hellish months — suffice it to say that I am both bored and frustrated and looking forward to potentially happier times. Basically, think of this as your high school bucket list of things to do before you graduate from high school in 83 days. Hope this helps.
The bucket list:
In just months, you will be removed from your mama and your bed and everything you have called home for the last 17 years of your life. So, now that you’ve submitted your college apps, I hope you’ll be a little bit more willing to do the borderline life-threatening things that may or may not get you killed, or worse, rescinded. It’s all the name of a little fun though, right?
Get your license, ideally before your permit expires (honestly, this probably isn’t even the most dangerous thing in the list). Otherwise, your junior friends will be the ones taking you off for lunch, and not vice versa.
Spend several weeks in the Santa Cruz Mountains alone, cultivating your survival skills. You will need to know how to (a) thrive without maternal help in an unfriendly, predatory environment in which larger beasts will seek to destroy you and (b) get used to knowing absolutely nobody. This is an analogy about something in your future (you’re going to MIT, right?). It is also a life-size biological model of ecological adaptation and predation; you will need to learn to live amongst the prey once more, because these next few months are the last time you will be, as your teachers love to say, “at the top of the food chain.” Speaking of prey and food …
Sit down at a table of random freshmen. Throw a piece of ice on the ground, step on it and tell them “Hello, I’m _____ and now the ice is broken.” In a few short months you will be expected to make conversation in the most uncomfortable of situations with figurative icebreakers. Better start getting used to it now.
Buy a gym membership. Practice your loud grunting which you will use to intimidate other gym members and establish your dominance. Also, you will need large muscles to attract all the women (or men, if that’s your thing). It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, buddy. Fortune favors the bold … and the prepared. And speaking of loud noises …
Learn to do the Maori Haka, the traditional war dance of the Maoris of New Zealand. You will perform this (1) at Toga’s Got Talent and (2) before every single major test to demonstrate your unshakeable confidence to your cowering classmates.
Start wearing cufflinks, regardless of the occasion. They’re a great fashion statement and a conversation starter, and that’s the type of stuff they wear at Princeton, so you better get started.
Plant a bonsai tree in your backyard. Water it every day, trim it when necessary and, when the time comes, sell it. Oh, you thought this step was going to be something about the intangible value of dedication and compassion? No. Compassion is for the weak. You will learn to mass produce bonsais and become a self-made billionaire (with, of course, a small, million-dollar loan from your parents) by the time you graduate. These lessons you will inevitably learn in college if you do not learn them now.
Follow along with a BuzzFeed Tasty video. Sooner or later you’ll need to learn how to cook anyway, and it’s as easy as those videos make it look, right? Your choices for now are either Gordon Ramsay or BuzzFeed. Choose BuzzFeed.
Plan, design and execute the most legendary prom asking the school has ever seen. Why? Because this is the last time you’ll be able to show up at someone’s house in the middle of the night in a Big Bird costume and not have them call the police on you.
Tag along with your mom/dad during bring your kid to work day. Soon, you’ll have to work in one of those cramped, poorly lit, stuffy cubicles with no access to free snacks. You may as well get used to the feeling now. Oh, yeah, and you won’t be around your parents as much any more. That too.
Do try to embrace these last few months in the quiet little suburbia you call Saratoga. Take a day off, or several, if you really feel like it, to explore San Francisco with your friends (bring the underclassmen along, too). Go watch a movie with your embarrassingly endearing family. Finish that novel you’ve talked about writing for so long.
I hope you enjoy this short break, because soon you’ll be right back where you started four years ago, only in a completely different place surrounded by completely different people.
April 30: Saratoga Music Booster's Pancake Breakfast
June 8: Graduation